Koukla and Pontiki were “employed” by St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church around eight weeks ago.
It’s a 24/7, 365 days a year position, but the duo seems more than happy with the remuneration package. It includes free food, shelter, and lots of strokes and affection from the parishioners.
Koukla and Pontiki were adopted by the church through The Animal Foundation’s Working Cat Program.
The programme was set up to help so-called “problem” cats find a new home. Such cats may have behavioural issues or were simply not socialised at an early enough age.
Kelly Leahy is a spokesperson for the foundation. She says, “They may have been feral and have been taken from a community but, for some reason, can’t be returned to that community.”
So far the program has re-homed over 50 cats, and there are dozens more waiting to be adopted as working cats.
And while these cats aren't suited to domestic life, many have found a new lease on life. One cat was recently adopted by a family that owned a large farm, while other suitable environments for these working cats include factories, warehouses, nurseries, or even someone's backyard.
St John's is the first church to adopt a cat through the program. The idea was brought up by Rev. Seraphim Ramos, who pointed out that many Greek monasteries keep cats to control rodents.
John Koutsulis, a parish council member, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “We own just shy of 10 acres of land, and we thought: ‘Why not have some cats out there?”
Koukla is a grey tabby, and her name translates as doll or cutie. Pontiki is a Siamese, and he's the naughty one of the pair; his name means little scamp.
The "purr-fect" cat life
The cats have free run of the church grounds. When they're not catching rodents or critters, they enjoy the usual cat pastimes such as sleeping and having a good scratch.
They've also made a big impression on the locals.
“Those cats don’t go an hour without being checked on,” Koutsulis says. “I’ve grown attached to these guys, I really have.”